We caught up with Galway-based DJ and producer Gary Collumb (GES) ahead of his latest EP release titled ‘No Bueno’ on Ismus that is due to release in full on the 16th of March. We spoke about his feelings ahead of the release, the current state of Galway’s nightlife from his perspective, his musical inspirations and more.
GES has seen steady growth as an artist from when he first started producing and releasing music around 4 years ago. Spanning a variety of genres at the time that included house, breakbeat, techno, jungle and so on as he gained significant experience in relation to his craft and was able to experiment in terms of uncovering his sound as an eager music producer.
Fast forward to today and you are met with an artist who possesses a much more refined sound musically, one that focuses on eloquently sounding drums, erring on the side of samba and hard-groove influences that pack a serious punch. Amassing an impressively significant level of production quality and sound design in the process.
Not to mention GES’ impressive mixing skills that he has gained over the years by means of sincere passion, dedication and hard work. Which is something that should not go unnoticed, given that he and Fionn Curran delivered quite a standout performance at last year’s edition of Life Festival in Mullingar and has shown no signs of stopping since.
We decided to chat with GES about artist’s he would like to collaborate with, people who inspire and motivate him as well as what the future holds for this exciting young artist.
Hi mate! Firstly, congratulations on the upcoming EP on Ismus, how are you feeling ahead of the release?
‘Hey Nathan, Thanks very much! I’m super chuffed to finally get it out. It’s been in the works for almost a year now so to finally have it out feels pretty surreal to be honest!’
Would you like to explain how the opportunity to work with Ismus came about? Additionally, would you like to summarise how you’ve gotten to this point from when you first started out as a DJ and producer?
‘Ismus were the first label who really backed my music and more importantly, me. Having changed up my style in the past 2 years to a more hardgroovy/darker and faster sound it felt like somewhat of a risk but having said that a risk I’m so thankful I took. Myself and Jonathan from Ismus actually chatted about my change in sound, so I’m very grateful I took some of his advice. This EP is definitely the most proud I’ve been in regards to my music. How have I gotten this far? Really, just backing myself and my ability as a DJ and a producer and trying to push my sound as hard as possible! In my opinion, it was super difficult having an interest in loads of genres and then trying to make a name for yourself and your music. So that’s probably the one thing I try to keep in mind.’
A lot of your tracks tend to have quite catchy, smooth vocals in them. How do you go about sourcing these types of vocals and ad libs for your productions and is there much sampling involved?
‘Most of the ones you hear in the EP are from either Youtube or Splice. There’s a lot of stigma around using Splice but I don’t think I’ve met a producer who doesn’t use it. If you use it in the right way it can probably be the thing that can take your sound up a level.’
Would you mind sharing the studio setup that you used to create this EP? Are there any new pieces of equipment or software that were introduced when making the No Bueno EP as opposed to your other releases?
‘Super basic set up, no hardware, just me and my massive PC.’
I’m aware that you are currently Galway based. Can you explain the current situation regarding Galway’s nightlife scene? What artists, collectives, and venues are doing good things worth highlighting?
‘Galway is a strange one to tell the truth. Post pandemic has seen a bit of a renaissance for nightlife here. Reboot Events have basically taken over DNA and started putting on some good shows in there with some massive artists. There are a lot of well run collectives such as Translucent, Bumble, Vault and loads more putting on shows in a variety of venues in Galway. On a whole, I’d say Galway is close to getting back to what it once was pre pandemic.’
Following on from the last question, do you have any plans to move away from Galway in the near future in an attempt to further your music career? Why or why not?
‘This has been on my mind for the last year for sure. In my opinion, I think you can only get so far in a place like Galway. When you look abroad or even across the pond in the UK, it just seems there is more for artists such as myself. A move is probably going to happen sometime in the future, maybe next year but we will have to see. ‘
Do you have many upcoming shows that you can share some information about?
‘Well this year is looking to be pretty full up, I finally have a Dublin debut which I am so excited for. I also have Liverpool, Belfast and Aberdeen debuts along with some more shows in Ireland which is pretty mental to even say so yeah this year is looking like a big one.’
What do you reckon has been your biggest highlight as an artist to date?
‘This is a tough one as I’m between two. Playing at Life Festival was a dream come true and was my first major festival so that will always have a special place in my heart. But I’d have to say this EP. I have just spent so much time and effort getting it to a place that I was happy with and then for a Label like Ismus to take me into their family feels pretty incredible to say the least. To kick off what feels like a pivotal year for me with an EP so close to my heart, is such a brilliant way to start off the year.’
If you had to name your 3 biggest inspirations for DJing and music production, who would they be?
‘For Djing, my number one was probably my dad. From when I was young, I can just remember hundreds of records in the house and being blasted with the likes of The Prodigy and Tiesto, which definitely had an influence on my growing up. More recently, Chlär has been a source of inspiration for me. I find his sets to be exciting and seamless whenever he mixes. Lastly, for Djing, it has to be Tommy Holohan. Been a big fan for years now and every time I’m at one of his sets, I never leave disappointed.
Now onto production, straight off the bat, Kettama. He is one of the main reasons I got into producing music when I was 18, I used to pick his brain every time I got the chance so he’s up there for sure. A rogue shout from me for musical inspiration is Robert Natus, I just love his style of drums and definitely try to incorporate it in my own music. Lastly and probably the most influential people in my life, musically, I owe a lot to the RIOT CODE boys. I started off as a fan of these in lock-down and they were actually the first record I ever bought hahaha. I now call them close friends which is pretty funny. It’s so sick seeing the boys go from strength to strength and who knows we might be sharing a stage real soon.’
Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with in the future? If so, why them in particular?
‘I thought about this one a lot and came up with two people I think whose style would blend with my own, Aero being one of them, has been killing it lately and I think his hardgroove style accompanied by my own would be super interesting. For the next dream collab I’m gonna go down under, these two lads have been killing it recently and I also consider good friends of mine, 6SENSE. With similar styles I think it would be a match made in heaven.’
If you could only listen to 1 artist’s discography for the rest of your life, who would it be?
‘Probably the hardest question of them all. If I had to only pick one it would have to be Knucks. I know I don’t look like much of a Grime guy but I only stumbled across Knucks last year and just instantly fell in love with his music so it’d definitely have to be him.’
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
‘Hopefully touring a lot and still playing shows all over the place. It’s obviously hard to know what will happen but in an ideal world playing the biggest and best venues it’s at the top of the agenda.’
Do you have much else planned for 2023?
‘Well, I have another EP already in the works for the middle of this year as well as a good few of singles to come out also. Loads of really exciting bits to announce soon too which I am buzzing to share.’
You can stay up to date with all things GES here.